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Deutsche Presse-Agentur, November 30, 2011

“My uncle sold me for 170 dollars to be a suicide bomber”

A senior Afghan intelligence official said up to 60 per cent of the suicide attacks are by minors

By Subel Bhandari & Hares Kakar

Kabul - Sherzai was 13 years old when his uncle sold him to Taliban insurgents for 15,000 Pakistani rupees (170 dollars).

'Then the Taliban told me to carry out a suicide attack,' he said, now in a juvenile correctional facility in Kabul. 'They said I would be a martyr and I would go to paradise.'

Sherzai, a shepherd with no father and a bed-ridden mother, is from Gardez city, the provincial capital of Paktia province that borders Pakistan and is the focus of military operations.

Sherzai escaped shortly after he was sold to the Taliban. But he was arrested, and a court sent him to the centre where he studies and takes vocational training in carpet weaving, tailoring and computers.

He shares his room with nine other children who are in the centre for various offences.

Amanullah, 14, has been there for three months.

He said he was recruited for a suicide mission while studying in a madrassa in the northern province of Kunduz.

Amanullah surrendered to police at the last moment, just before he was to blow up a mosque frequented by Afghan security forces.

Amanullah, like Sherzai, was promised paradise through martyrdom.

'First, I believed but then later I lost my faith,' he told dpa.

'We have evidence that the Taliban have been recruiting children aged 11 to 17 to carry out a range of activities, from armed combat to smuggling of weapons across the Pakistan-Afghan border and planting IEDs (improvised explosive devices),' Dee Brillenburg Wurth, a child rights adviser with the UN in Afghanistan, told the IRIN news website.
On the eve of the Muslim festival Eid-ul Fitr in August, President Hamid Karzai pardoned 20 children, some as young as 7, who were groomed by the Taliban to become suicide bombers.
Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Nov. 30, 2011

Like Amanullah and Sherzai, many children have been lured or forced to become human bombs in the decade-long war, especially since the insurgents turned increasingly to suicide bombings after 2004.

Last year, 1,141 people were killed in 140 suicide attacks, according to the India-based Institute of Conflict Management.

The United Nations in September said the number of civilian deaths caused by bombs and suicide attacks in the first eight months was 177 per cent higher compared to 2010.

The report also said the UN found 'anti-government elements' recruiting children to carry out suicide attacks, plant bombs and smuggle weapons and uniforms.

'We have evidence that the Taliban have been recruiting children aged 11 to 17 to carry out a range of activities, from armed combat to smuggling of weapons across the Pakistan-Afghan border and planting IEDs (improvised explosive devices),' Dee Brillenburg Wurth, a child rights adviser with the UN in Afghanistan, told the IRIN news website.

On the eve of the Muslim festival Eid-ul Fitr in August, President Hamid Karzai pardoned 20 children, some as young as 7, who were groomed by the Taliban to become suicide bombers.

'Our mullah told us that when we perform the suicide attack, everyone around us dies, but we would stay alive,' 9-year-old Ghulam Farooq said.

A senior Afghan intelligence official said up to 60 per cent of the suicide attacks are by minors.

Authorities arrested about 100 underage would-be bombers this year, said Lutfullah Mashal, spokesman for the National Directorate of Security.

'Militants in Afghanistan have been using children as suicide bombers and there is an increase in suicide attacks by minors in the last six months,' Mashal said.

The US-based Human Rights Watch described the phenomenon as an 'egregious affront to humanity.' It said the trend of recruiting children by the Taliban to use as suicide-bombers was 'increasing alarmingly in recent months.'

'Younger and younger children have been involved,' it said.

The Taliban denies using children in suicide missions. Their code of conduct, the Layha, also forbids the use of children in 'jihadic operations.'

Rebel spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid called the reports 'propaganda conspired by the intelligence network against the movement.'

'Yes, there have been many allegations in the media about children being recruited, but we have our own rules and regulations for jihad, and these rules do not give us the permission to encourage underage child for martyrdom missions,' Mujahid told dpa.

He also said they select only the 'fighters with full beard' to fight in the Taliban ranks.

'We have hundreds of martyrdom seekers waiting for their turn. Martyrdom operations are not the work of children,' he said.

Category: Taliban/ISIS/Terrorism, Children, HR Violations - Views: 12175